– Adam Wainwright can become the first National League to reach 15 wins, but to get there, he’ll have to outpitch Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is 12-7 with a 2.89 ERA that ranks seventh in the NL. Wainwright is fifth at 2.61. Oddly enough, Rodriguez is 3-7 against the Cardinals in his career, even though he’s limited Albert Pujols to a .120 average and no extra-base hits or RBI in 25 at-bats.
– After No. 7 takes on No. 5 in St. Louis, No. 6 and No. 3 will duel in San Francisco. Arizona‘s Dan Haren was the NL’s most effective pitcher in the first half, but he’s 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA since the break, dropping him behind five pitchers. Cain currently has a 2.4305 ERA, while teammate Lincecum is at 2.4281. Both are trailing Chris Carpenter at 2.16.
– 25-year-old right-hander Armando Gabino will make his major league debut for the Twins tonight after going 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 65 H and 55/22 K/BB in 86 IP for Triple-A Rochester. A reliever for most of the year, he had made just five starts — and one of those was an abbreviated three-inning outing Friday to put him in line to pitch tonight. Gabino throws in the low-90s consistently as a reliever and has displayed an improved changeup this year. He’s a long shot to last as a starting pitcher, but he’s proven to be a nice find for a guy originally picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft.
Game of the Night
Los Angeles vs. Colorado – With the NL West gap down to three games after the Rockies’ walkoff grand slam against the Giants last night, the Dodgers travel to Colorado to begin a three-game series tonight. The Dodgers would seem to have the right pitcher on the mound in Clayton Kershaw, but they’ve actually lost each of the left-hander’s last six starts, even though he has allowed just 11 runs during the span. Plus, Kershaw is 2-3 with a 6.07 ERA against Colorado in his career. The Rockies will throw Jason Hammel, who like Kershaw, is 8-7 on the season. It will be a rematch of a July 1 game which the Dodgers won 1-0, leaving Hammel with a complete-game loss. The difference is that tonight’s contest will be in Coors Field, where Hammel is 2-3 with a 7.02 ERA this season.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.
Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.